John Young's reference to the Society of St Pius X (SSPX) as "unlawful" (November AD2000) was unfortunate (and debatable), especially for those Catholics like myself who have difficulty finding Novus Ordo parishes where liturgical abuses do not occur regularly, even at times putting the validity of Masses in doubt.
It is all very well if reverently celebrated Latin Masses, for those Catholics desiring them, are readily accessible with the blessing of the bishop - including ones celebrated by the Fraternity of St Peter. Some dioceses are fortunate in this regard.
But what is a Catholic to do - particularly in rural areas where distance is a major obstacle - when the choice is between what can amount to a liturgical circus of questionable validity or a Mass celebrated reverently and scrupulously by a SSPX priest?
The present status of the SSPX continues to be debated by scholars, and one hopes good sense ultimately prevails and reconciliation occurs in the not too distant future. The Church as a whole would benefit from the spiritual resources many SSPX priests and religious could offer were they in communion with the Holy See.
In any case, if a Greek or Russian Orthodox Mass were the only alternative to the kinds of aberrations flourishing in some dioceses, a Catholic would be entitled in conscience to prefer the more clearly valid sacraments of those churches, despite their schismatic situations.
If the SSPX is seen as a problem, the onus is on all bishops to ensure that the liturgical abuses identified in Redemptoris Sacramentum are eliminated without delay and that Latin Masses are made more widely available to those preferring them, as Pope John Paul II has requested.
Lake Munmorah, NSW